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  1. Default South Carolina to Oregon - March 2011

    I am incredibly thrilled that I found this forum. I have seen so much information! It's making me more excited, but a little more nervous as well. lol

    My family is taking a cross-country trip from northern South Carolina to Portland, OR. We are relocating there, and because none of us have ever seen more than our little east coast bubble, we've decided we'd rather drive than fly. Make an adventure out of it. We have 10 days slated clean for the trip, with a day on either side that we could either hit the road a little early to get a head start or run over if we want/need to. Ideally, rather than drive small amounts every day, I was thinking of doing it in 10 hour stretches, with non-travel days at destinations in between? I'm not sure if that would make the trip more enjoyable or not, but with two children (9 and 3), I feel like getting in the car every day - even if only for 5 hours or so - would be exhausting. We do 10 hour trips regularly to FL, so I know we all handle those well.

    I guess, mainly, my concern now is winter. March is still a very cold month, and I didn't think anything of it until a friend of mine (from Oregon) told me to make sure I threw some snow chains in the car for when we hit the Rockies. Being from SC, I do not own snow chains, and I have no idea how to even put them on. lol I will get them if I need to, of course, but now I'm very nervous about what kind of road conditions we're going to hit...? Ideally, I'd like to stick to interstates/highways, and then we'll plan small detours off for our off-days to do some site-seeing. Being that this is by far our longest roadtrip ever, I don't want to dive in with backroads and unplanned exploring. I need a plan. lol

    Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated! We are just in the baby planning stages now, so my brain is totally free for new advice and information! Thanks everyone! :-)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Keep flexible

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    You should allow 5 to 6 days for the trip, [depending on starting point] so it certainly gives you a little time to explore along the way. I doubt you will see much in the way of weather disruption in March when keeping to main Highways, and with extra time available to deal with any delays it shouldn't be much of an issue.

    I would do a little research by looking around the forums and in the road trip planning pages above. The map centre will show you possible attractions along the way and I would base your driving days on where you want to end up rather than a set amount of hours per day. With 10 hours on the road you can expect to cover 550 to 600 miles with time for short stops for food and bathroom breaks, to fill with gas and stretch your legs. If things fit then spending 5 or 6 hours a day travelling should be quite comfortable, a couple of hours and a stop, another hour or two for lunch and/or at an attraction and a couple of hours in the afternoon can work well on a family trip and help to keep it from becoming a chore.

    Do a little research and see what appeals and then see how your trip and travel times fit into the areas/places you want to visit, as new questions arise just ask.

    Enjoy the planning !

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Not an Either/Or Proposition

    It simply isn't necessary to choose between driving 10 hour days with the occasional day off and driving every day for some more limited amount of time. I have found that what works best with my own grandsons (who are about your children's ages) is to drive a couple of days with several short visits to something interesting, and break that up every third day or so with a longer stop somewhere for a more in depth look at some major attraction or particularly interesting place. This also suits my packing style where I will have a major suitcase with all my clothes and a much smaller bag with toiletries and a couple of changes worth of underwear, socks and shirts. That way I only have to 'unpack' the small bag most nights and then just change out for a fresh small load of clothes from the main bag every few days.

    So, if such a road style suits you, you could take a couple of days to get to St. Louis and spend a day there. The zoo is free and in addition there's the Arch and beneath it the Museum of Westward Expansion. There's also Grant's Farm which today is a combination zoo, beer garden, and home to the Budweiser Clydesdales. The next couple of days on the road would take you out along the old Oregon Trail along the Platte River in Nebraska with a longer stop (and slight detour) to take in Rocky Mountain National Park, the Stanley Hotel (inspiration for The Shining) in Estes Park. Next up would be a shorter driving stretch to a day spent in Salt Lake City visiting the lake, the Mormon Tabernacle, the Clark Planetarium, nearby Timpanogos Cave National Monument, and the Olympic sites. Then you'd have a final couple of days following the Snake and Columbia River Valleys into Portland, Both have more sight seeing opportunities than you can possibly get to.

    For some examples of smaller venues for the kids to get out of the car and blow off some steam on your 'driving' days, have a look through these suggestions realizing there are many others. As far as chains go. If having them makes you feel better, you can buy a relatively inexpensive set of cable chains either before you go or at an auto supply store somewhere along the way. Just be sure to practice putting them on before you need them. And really, if you have never used them and are uncomfortable in snow/ice driving conditions, you have the time to just wait out any storm and let the road crews so their job rather than pressing on through bad weather.


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